God Glimpses #54 ~ Lily of the Valley
What can words say that these wonders of creation can’t?
Sometimes seeing a glimpse of God only requires one tiny blossom.
It’s easy to look at the mess we’ve made as dead wood. Every year I have to cut the dead wood out of my Hydrangea. Every year there’s more. It’s a natural part of the life cycle of many woody shrubs and all trees. A certain percentage of the limbs and branches die off, and more grow in their place. Think of them as the equivalent of human hair. It doesn’t mean there is rot or disease, it’s just part of the process.
Now take that thought and apply it to the mess you’ve made of your attempts. Is your life (and possibly your home and office) filled with the clutter and refuse of attempts that went awry or projects that didn’t make it past the planning stage? Don’t beat yourself up! This is a normal part of the process of growth.
Rather than agonize over the failures, look at your mess as proof that you’re alive, trying new things, attempting to be and do more. Then get out the pruning shears and get rid of those things holding you back, reminding you of failure, and taking up valuable space in your life. Learn from God’s natural process. If you don’t cut out the dead wood, then the new can’t grow. There is no space, or light or air.
Breathe in those wonderful life-affirming verses that you love, and then tackle just one pruning job today. Nothing brings hope for the future like new spring green growth. Make room for it in your life.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 HCSB
“The thief comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy.
I’ve come that (you) may have life, and have it abundantly.”
John 10:10 ISV
In preparing for our upcoming art show, “New Beginnings” the thought occurred to me that I might have other artwork lying around that could be used besides the paintings I’m preparing just for this exhibit. So I took a little tour around the house and came across this early painting. The subject was perfect ~ what says new beginning like the first adorable flowers of spring? Unfortunately, the paper was covered in foxing ~ those little or not-so-little rust colored specks that go right through the paper. It was polka-dotted with the ugly things.
I got on the internet and looked up foxing and what to do to get it out of the paper. It all looked so complicated, and the only thing I had on hand was the bleach which was only one step in the process. Would just that first step do it? How much of the watercolor would fade? Was I willing to risk it for this one show? I certainly didn’t have time to get it back from a conservator before Friday. It was one of only two early watercolors I have left, and I’ve always been fond of it ~ it would grieve me to lose it.
After the agony of deliberation, I decided to give it a try. After all, it was ruined as it was, and by the time I got it to a conservator, it might be too late to save it anyway. The foxing was already all the way through the paper.
So I did it ~ I took the plunge. I prepared a pan of water with a small amount of bleach and submersed my darling little painting. After soaking for almost two hours, the stains were still there, so I left the studio for lunch, telling myself not to stay too long. At that point the colors were still strong.
Of course you know I got involved in a book and forgot all about my little painting sitting in the tub of bleach solution. When I got back to the studio, the first thing that I saw were my little crocuses, just starting to bleed out purple. I rushed the painting to the sink and dumped the water from the pan, rinsing it while holding the painting, worrying about the bleeding watercolor. It was only a tiny amount, but it was clearly starting to run. I filled the pan with rinse water and gently floated the painting, flipping it over. I did it twice more with fresh pans of water. At that point the bleeding had rinsed away. How much of the color would remain once the painting dried? The drying process was accomplished with less stress, thankfully.
You can see the result. The colors are once again as bright as when it was freshly painted, and the paper is truly white. There is no purple even though that’s how the photo appears. I’m not sure the camera knew what to do with those intensely purple flowers.
I think you’ll agree that this painting has experienced its own New Beginning.
One day we’ll be wearing white, and our true colors will shine. Until then, we take it by faith that our stains have been washed away. We have value and beauty and serve a purpose ~ each of us designed by the hands of the one who created us for his good pleasure.
The great thing about a long cold winter? I haven’t seen a spider in months.
After nearly putting my hand on this guy last spring, I was ready for a spider break. They’ve been creeping me out ever since.
I know spiders have their place, and even kings have them. I know the world would be overrun with insects if we weren’t blessed with their presence.
I’m fine with them outdoors.
Thank you Lord, for frozen spiders. Even if it is only half the year. Half is good.
Yesterday’s post dealt with hope deferred. When I took this photo, the sky was a beautiful blue, just begging me to look up.
Sycamore seeds. Fascinating textured globes of promise. In my minds eye they are broken all over the driveway, as they will be soon. They’re smashed from the impact of falling, squashed by tires, blown into fluff bits, and floating in the wind in tiny segments. They’re everywhere! They’re landing in my flower beds, in the lawn, heading for the soccer field across the street . . . if they make it past the hedge of trees.
“Just DO it” reverberates from yesterday.
“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening do not let your hand rest, because you don’t know which will succeed, whether one or the other, or if both of them will be equally good.” Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
The Bible says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” All winter long I’ve been ignoring these flower pots on my back porch, pretending the watering can doesn’t exist, pushing down dreams of spring green.
This morning, (after not one flake of predicted snow fell from the so-called snow storm earlier in the week,) I woke to find this not-so-sugar coating still falling from a sky that should have been blue.
(Shoot the weather men and women, please!)
We have no control over the weather. We can justifiably feel sick at the thought of another cold day with even the emerging crocuses looking frozen and miserable.
But do we defer our own hope? What dreams and goals do you have that could be achieved if you would just DO instead of dream . . . or wish . . . or pretend to hope. I don’t know about you, but I’m great at setting goals, not so great at remembering to look at them by mid-week.
DOers get things done. It’s that simple. Spend less time planning, and more time DOing. That’s my God Glimpse for today, folks. He sprinkled frosting on my misery and reminded me to look up (. . . and then go DO.)
Yellow crocuses springing out of mud. Hope in tiny promise packages. Whenever I picture the scene of Christ on the cross, I envision Him gazing at the ground through swollen and bloody eyelids at a single crocus coming up through the mud at His mother’s feet. Knowing the anguish of separation from his family, his disciples, and of His Father God, He looks to the joy of new life, new hope, and promises fulfilled.
Photo taken today in my front yard. Hope!